The Senate Public Accounts Committee (SPAC) has sustained the report of Auditor-General for the Federation which indicted the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency for paying N1.5bn to contractors who did not execute the projects awarded to them.

The AUGF report on NIMASA was sustained by SPAC when the maritime agency failed to appear before its members despite series of invitations which were not acknowledged.

In his ruling on the audit query, the SPAC Chairman, Senator Matthew Urhoghide said the agency had refused to appear before the panel despite series of invitations sent to them. Since the agency had failed to honour the committee’s summons, he had no other option than to sustain the query of the AuGF on the agency.

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The 2015 report of the AuGF read in part, “A total sum of N8.6m was paid to a company as contract/professional fees for store organisation audit and inventory management system vide two payment vouchers Nos. UBA/EP/12/00309 of 8/3/12 and UBA/EP/13/0267 of 21/3/13.

“The contract entailed core store organisation and inventory management system aimed at efficient record-keeping, asset location and so on.

“However, a physical audit verification of the store showed that this job was not carried out as assets worth billions of naira could not be effectively located and accounted for contrary to the purpose of the contract.

“The payment for this contract contravenes Financial Regulation 3104(iii) which guards against payments for jobs not executed.”

“The director-general has been requested to take procedural disciplinary measures against all officers responsible for approval and payment for job not executed, furnishing evidence for verification.

“He should also recover and refund to treasury, the sum of N8.6m being irregular payment, furnishing recovery particulars for verification.”

In another query, the AuGF report indicted some officials of NIMASA for diverting N101.4m meant for the establishment of the Maritime Institute at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Enugu State.

The query reads, “NIMASA and University of Nigeria, Nsukka reached an agreement to establish a Maritime Institute at the latter.

“To this end, the university submitted N599m as take-off grant but only the sum of N240m was paid to the university vide P.V. No. UBA/EP/13/546 of 30/5/13.

“The audit inspection visit to the maritime institute at the university on 16th August, 2015 revealed that the bursary unit of the university acknowledged only the sum of N138.5m as the release for the establishment of the Maritime Institute, Nsukka and not N240m raised in the payment voucher.”

It added that the difference of N101.4m could not be accounted for by either the university or the agency.